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The History of Plastic Surgery; How Started

Posted on: August 14, 2023

History of Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery has been around for centuries, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century that it began to be used as a medical specialty. The first plastic surgery was performed in Germany in 1814, and since then the field has evolved significantly. Today, plastic surgeons are highly trained professionals who specialize in reconstructive and cosmetic procedures.

Early Development

The early development of plastic surgery was largely centered around war injuries and reconstructive procedures. During World War I, many soldiers were severely disfigured by bullets, bombs, and shrapnel. In response to this need for reconstruction, pioneering plastic surgeons developed new techniques to repair damaged skin and tissue. This work laid the foundation for modern plastic surgery techniques such as skin grafts and tissue expansion.

Notable Advancements

Since the early 20th century, there have been numerous advancements in the field of plastic surgery. One of the most notable is the invention of silicone implants for breast augmentation in 1961. This procedure revolutionized cosmetic surgery and made it accessible to people from all walks of life. Other advances include facial reconstruction techniques such as rhinoplasty (nose job) and blepharoplasty (eyelid lift).

Modern Utilization of Industrial Plastic Products

In recent years, industrial plastic products have become increasingly popular in the field of plastic surgery. These products can be used to enhance or reshape various body parts including the face, breasts, buttocks, and abdomen. They can also be used to repair scarring caused by trauma or burns. Industrial plastics are often less expensive than traditional surgical methods and can provide excellent results with minimal recovery time.

Plastic surgery has evolved significantly since its first use in 1814, with notable advancements such as silicone implants, facial reconstruction techniques, and modern utilization of industrial plastic products

Education and Training Requirements

The field of plastic surgery requires a tremendous amount of education and training. Becoming a successful plastic surgeon requires dedication to the craft, as well as completing a rigorous educational program.

Becoming a Medical School Graduate

The first step in becoming a plastic surgeon is to obtain an undergraduate degree in biology or another pre-med related field. After completion of the undergraduate degree, students must then apply to medical school and complete the four year program. Once accepted into medical school, students are required to complete core classes such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology and microbiology. In addition, students must also participate in clinical rotations in various specialties such as internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine and surgery. Upon completion of medical school, graduates will be awarded their Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.

Completion of Core Curriculum in Plastic Surgery

After completing medical school and earning their MD or DO degree, prospective plastic surgeons must then complete a five-year residency program that focuses on plastic surgery. During this residency program, they will learn about facial reconstruction techniques, hand surgery techniques and craniofacial surgery techniques. They will also learn how to perform reconstructive surgeries for cancer patients and trauma victims. After completing the residency program successfully, they will be awarded their certification from the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Extensive Training Process

In order to become a board certified plastic surgeon with the ABPS, applicants must pass both written and oral exams that cover all aspects of plastic surgery including surgical techniques and patient safety protocols. Additionally, applicants must also demonstrate their competency by participating in hands-on training sessions with experienced surgeons who can evaluate their skillset. Once all requirements have been met successfully by an applicant, they will receive board certification from the ABPS that allows them to practice independently as a plastic surgeon.

Undergraduate Degree
Biology or Pre-Med related field
Medical School
4 year program with core classes and clinical rotations
Residency Program
5 year program focused on plastic surgery techniques and patient safety protocols
ABPS Certification
Pass written and oral exams, hands-on training sessions, board certification granted upon successful completion of all requirements.

The Craft of Modeling or Sculpting the Human Form

Plastic surgery is a highly specialized field of medicine that requires extensive knowledge and skill for practitioners to be successful. It involves the manipulation of tissues, including skin, fat, muscle, bone, cartilage, and other organs in order to repair or enhance the appearance and function of the body. Plastic surgeons must understand how to shape and manipulate these tissues in order to create aesthetically pleasing results. The craft of modeling or sculpting the human form is an art form that requires a great deal of skill and precision.

Reconstructive vs Aesthetic/Cosmetic Surgery

Plastic surgery can be divided into two main categories: reconstructive surgery and aesthetic/cosmetic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is used to repair physical defects caused by birth defects, trauma, burns, disease, or infection. Examples of reconstructive procedures include cleft lip and palate repair, hand reconstruction after injury or amputation, and facial reconstruction after cancer treatment. Aesthetic/cosmetic surgery is used to improve physical appearance by altering features such as nose size or shape or breast size. Examples of aesthetic/cosmetic procedures include rhinoplasty (nose reshaping), blepharoplasty (eyelid lift), facelift, neck lift, breast augmentation or reduction, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), liposuction (body contouring), and buttock augmentation.

Kidney Transplant by a Plastic Surgeon

In addition to performing aesthetic/cosmetic procedures, plastic surgeons are also skilled at performing complex organ transplants such as kidney transplants. In this procedure, a plastic surgeon will carefully remove a healthy kidney from a donor and transplant it into a patient whose own kidneys are failing. This procedure requires extensive knowledge of anatomy as well as surgical skills in order to ensure that the new kidney functions properly in its new environment.

Breast Reconstruction with Implants/Autogenous Tissue

Breast reconstruction is another complex procedure that often requires the expertise of a plastic surgeon. In this procedure, implants or autogenous tissue may be used to rebuild the breast after mastectomy due to cancer treatment or other reasons. The goal is to restore symmetry between both breasts while creating an aesthetically pleasing result for the patient. Plastic surgeons must have an eye for detail in order to achieve natural-looking results with this type of procedure.

plastic surgery is a highly specialized field of medicine that requires extensive knowledge and skill to create aesthetically pleasing results. vs Aesthetic/Cosmetic Surgery, Kidney Transplant by a Plastic Surgeon, Breast Reconstruction with Implants/Autogenous Tissue.

Benefits of Choosing a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon

Choosing to undergo any type of medical procedure is a big decision. It is important to be informed and confident in the decisions you make when it comes to your health and wellbeing. When considering plastic surgery, it is beneficial to choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who has received specialized training and education in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Training and Education

board-certified plastic surgeons are required to complete rigorous educational requirements before becoming certified. This includes graduating from an accredited medical school, completing a core curriculum in plastic surgery, and participating in an extensive training process that can last up to seven years. The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) is the only certifying board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It is important to note that not all physicians who perform cosmetic procedures are certified by the ABPS.


board-certified plastic surgeons have expertise in both aesthetic/cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. These surgeries can range from kidney transplants to breast reconstruction with implants or autogenous tissue. A board-certified plastic surgeon has experience in performing these procedures, as well as an understanding of how they interact with other medical conditions or treatments. Patients should feel comfortable discussing their medical history with their doctor so that they can receive the best possible care for their individual needs.


The safety of patients is paramount for any physician but especially for board-certified plastic surgeons who specialize in complex surgical procedures. When choosing a doctor, patients should research their background and qualifications thoroughly to ensure they are getting the highest quality care available. This includes verifying their credentials with the ABPS or other certifying boards if applicable, reading reviews from previous patients, and asking questions about safety protocols during and after the procedure.


Finally, choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon provides peace of mind knowing you are receiving care from a qualified professional who has been trained specifically in this area of medicine. Patients will feel more confident knowing that their doctor is familiar with the latest advances in technology and techniques used for cosmetic or reconstructive surgery procedures. In addition, having access to a knowledgeable team of professionals who understand your individual needs can help you make informed decisions about your treatment options.